Any Government needs to make sure that its citizens have enough of the right kinds of food to eat. After air and water, there is no more basic human need; but in assessing the adequacy of food supplies most Governments rely on data relating to production and external trade, rather than on a more direct measurement of food consumption. The statistical series Food Consumption Levels in the United Kingdom (which, despite its name, shows total amounts of foodstuffs available at a primary stage of distribution) can be matched in most developed countries; but such series cannot give any indication of the claims of different sections of the population on total supplies. In contrast, the annual reports of the National Food Survey Committee of Great Britain, entitled Household Food Consumption and Expenditure, provide a continuous evaluation of the amount and cost of food used by different types of household, a record on which a nutritional assessment can be based.
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